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John’s Asian Horror Corner: White, The Melody of a Curse (2011)

July 20, 2012

MY CALL:  Pretty much a waste of time to any well-seasoned horror-goer.  Kiddie horror, really.  If you have a 7th grade neice who wants to watch a scary movie, start her on this.  WHAT TO WATCH INSTEAD:  Just watch Final Destination 5 (2011).  It accomplishes everything that this movie meant to, but did it exceedingly better.  LOOKING FOR GOOD KOREAN HORROR?  Thirst (2009), or the more sci-fi-ish The Host (2006).  You can find many K-horror “top 10” lists online as well.  LANGUAGE:  Korean; subtitled in English on Netflix.

After moving into a new recording studio (which was cheap after a fire incident that killed someone), one of the “Pink Dolls” (a 20-something girl group) finds a music video called “White” that has never been released.  It’s sort of catchy so they decide to pawn it off as their own.

The group has a catty relationship in which Eun-Ju, the oldest member and an ex-back-up dancer, gets most of the blame for their lack of success. But after just one performance of “White” they’re famous again.  Working on refining the new hit, the lead vocalist (Jenny) starts having some strange heat strokes and dehydration issues. This results in an unexciting hospitalization.

This one’s eyelids get infected.  Truly the work of a horrific and malevalent force.

As the group shrinks to uneventful casualties, each subsequent lead vocalist suffers from hot flashes until their eventual not-quite-deaths, which seem to go uninvestigated for some reason.  However, Eun-Ju—the only one who never sought the lead spot in the group—connects the injuries to the fire that killed the original lead singer.

Eun-Ju embraces the role as the lead singer when, well, she’s the only one left.
White hair in an Asian horror flick…far from original.

The music and dancing has a trendy TRL appeal; almost like Lady Ga-Ga with some zombie moves.  But, overall, this was very “vanilla.”  The “scary” scenes are unsensational and the effects were unshocking—mostly just a bunch of bleeding from the eyes and spewing blood from the mouth; simple stuff.  I often favor foreign horror for innovative story ideas and strange horror “flavors” produced by different writing/directing pedigrees.  While nothing was really wrong with White, it showcased neither such attribute.  With no cool deaths to speak of and mediocre scares that pale to the likes of The Grudge (which does get a nod in the end), but good production value and an untwisty followable plot (contrary to the often cerebral Japanese horror), I’d recommend this to younger, unseasoned viewers who are just starting to get their feet wet and aren’t yet looking for nightmare-inducing scares or meal-spilling gore.

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